TARGETS for catching criminals should be abolished because police forces cannot be trusted to keep honest records, according to a Parliamentary committee.

Police whistleblower PC James Patrick, from Brightlingsea, lifted the lid on the culture of figure fixing in the Metropolitan Police.

He has since resigned claiming he was bullied out of the force.

An inquiry by the Public Administration Select Committee found the problem was widespread nationally.

As a result, in a report titled “Caught red-handed: Why we can't count on Police Recorded Crime statistics”, the committee, chaired by Harwich and North Essex MP Bernard Jenkin, recommended targets be abolished.

Instead they want forces to keep accurate data which can be used to properly assess what resources are needed and where.

The report stated there is “substantial and credible evidence” police recorded crime is not accurate.

Police and Crime Commissioner Nick Alston, who was called to give evidence at the committee hearings said: “I welcome the report. It is essential crime is recorded accurately and ethically.

“This is a matter of police integrity.

“The people of Essex should have confidence in the crime figures which may sometimes be challenging.”